Climate change and economic inequality coalesce into a dystopia that triggers a massive migration to space colonies. Based on our current technology, K3+ presents a roadmap for surviving our current predicament to establish a post-scarcity society free from suffering and exploitation.
In the far distant future, we have colonized the Milky Way, all the galaxies in the Local Group, and are beginning to wander into neighboring galactic clusters. Humans no longer settle planets but build cylindrical megastructures called rotating habitats that perfectly replicate Earth conditions, including gravity by spinning. Billions of these orbiting a single star capture its entire energy output and provide housing for quadrillions of people — what we call a Dyson swarm.
A small group of free-thinkers, engineers, and NASA washouts, band together to take space exploration in a different direction.
Planets become a curiosity because very few have set foot on one. So we meet the main character, Fedrix, celebrating his birthday by space-diving into an alien world with a group of friends. Humans are genetically enhanced, live forever looking like in their early 20s, have nanobots inside their bodies ensuring perfect health, and use neural interfaces to exchange thoughts rather than words — just like telepathy.
Fedrix and his friends live in a colony ship called The Eternity, going from star to star, delivering billions of colonists. When they arrive at a new sun, they begin building rotating habitats. When everything is in place for the future Dyson swarm, they move on to the next star.
After a raucous week-long party, where we learn the kind of society humanity becomes in the future, the storyline jumps to 2016. Prey to greed, fear, and aggression, humans poisoned their environment, upset their climate, enslaved their fellow beings, fought each other over idiotic things as supremacy, and rigged their homeworld with thousands of hair-triggered nuclear weapons.
In the 23rd century, seventeen billion people live in space versus just three billion on Earth, and nations begin to collapse due to underpopulation.
Fedrix was born as Federico, yet another immigrant dazzled by the American dream of the 70s who, forced into early retirement by the brutal reality of corporate indifference, never imagined he’d dream again.
“It must not be allowed to happen! Cultural deification of wealth broadcasted by the corporate media gaslights the public to believe plutocrats are brilliant thought leaders, rather than a parasitic cancer on civilization. Space must be open and free to humankind, with no exceptions. The greed and tyranny of a few cannot prevent us from building a spacefaring civilization where the well-being of every single human soul is guaranteed. We can’t be ruled by another czar aristocracy; egalitarianism must be the founding principle of the space era.”—Quote From K3+
A small group of free-thinkers, engineers, and NASA washouts, band together to take space exploration in a different direction. Years later, they became known as the Space Initiative. They gave second chances to those like Federico, known in certain circles for his advocacy towards rotating habitats instead of colonizing planets.
After mining asteroids for decades, the Space Initiative builds the first rotating habitat: a tiny colony capable of housing a thousand people — named Terminus in honor to Isaac Asimov. Federico becomes one of the first residents and later gets promoted to colony administrator.
From Terminus, the Initiative launches an automated mining operation to planet Mercury — rich in metals and silicates — enabling them to build island-size rotating habitats that can house tens of millions each. The influx of raw materials allows them to pay all their loans and makes the Initiative extremely wealthy. It also becomes an independent nation with a seat at the UN.
In an effort to deter people from leaving, the United States declares emigration an act of treason, but the exodus continues.
Little by little, people emigrate to space trying to escape climate change and economic exploitation. The Initiative offers free housing and a Universal Basic Income to all its citizens. In the beginning, only a few million people come but, in the 23rd century, seventeen billion people live in space versus just three billion on Earth, and nations begin to collapse due to underpopulation.
“It happened right under their noses! The plutocrats, with the complicity of politicians, accumulated obscene amounts of wealth and used it to solidify their control over the government. They lobbied to obtain all thirty-four authorizations required for the first-ever Article V Constitutional Convention, radically transforming the US Constitution. It allowed them to take even more power away from the masses. Now, they face the consequences!”—Quote From K3+
In an effort to deter people from leaving, the United States declares emigration an act of treason, but the exodus continues. At the same time, the Space Initiative is desperate to extract a group of scientists that has just discovered the secret of Faster-Than-Light communication. Based on quantum teleportation, it allows instant communication between two points regardless of distance. Because this technology is key to a unified human civilization throughout the universe, the Initiative is willing to do whatever it takes to extract the scientists in secret.
The non-humanoid aliens are stuck in the middle ages but, given their evolutionary path, Fedrix determines that they’ll become a super-predator in the future, threatening the existence of the human species.
Federico is now a Space Initiative board member, and the chairman puts him in charge of a covert operation to rescue the scientists. But as people continue to flee, the United States launches a first-strike attack with space ballistic missiles destroying two of the rotating habitats. Russia and China intervene to defend the Space Initiative triggering World War III.
“I realize this is hardly the time for a history lesson, but the first war took place right after the invention of agriculture over 15,000 years ago, probably when a tribe’s crop went bad and they tried stealing from their neighbor. Ever since then, ambitious, volatile, and often inexperienced leaders — driven by aggressive instincts and selfish motives — have been herding their people into wars…”—Quote from K3+
A century after the war, humans restore Earth to its pristine glory with polar caps and all, but everyone leaves for space, and our planet becomes a vacation destination. By 2400, a trillion people live in space as humanity readies the first interstellar ship to Proxima Centauri. Federico and some friends sign up for the adventure. Once the first interstellar voyage is successful, humans settle the Milky Way in under a million years.
The story hinges on the Fermi paradox but, when the storyline returns to the future, The Eternity is in intergalactic space outside the M87 galaxy — in the Virgo cluster — when they encounter the first extraterrestrial civilization.
The non-humanoid aliens are stuck in the middle ages but, given their evolutionary path, Fedrix determines that they will become a super-predator in the future, threatening the existence of the human species. After being peaceful for eons, they can’t grapple with this revelation and face the ultimate ethical and moral dilemma.